MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Wednesday made a strong pitch for the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), the country’s first-ever sovereign wealth fund, before the top business leaders and investors during the 10th Asia Summit in Singapore.
In a keynote address, Marcos told the select group of chief executive officers and investors that the MIF would help accelerate the development of the priority sectors and propel economic growth in the Philippines.
“The fund (MIF) is designed to consolidate investible funds from government financial institutions to further drive economic development through strategic investments both domestically and overseas,” Marcos said.
Marcos said the MIF would be used to improve various areas in the country, including agriculture, infrastructure, energy and healthcare.
He said infrastructure development plays a pivotal role in unlocking the country’s growth.
“Our commitment to connectivity is unwavering, with ambitious projects that enhance trade and investment opportunities through our Build, Better, More Infrastructure Program. Our ports, transport networks, and energy facilities are poised to elevate business operations and facilitate trade with the world,” Marcos said.
Marcos also emphasized the importance of improving the agricultural sector to provide Filipinos with affordable and sufficient food.
He said the Philippine government intends to forge public-private partnerships and government-to-government transactions “without a worrisome increase of our borrowings and with hopefully a sufficient fund.”
“So, those are the ways that we see. This will go into infrastructure, into power development. Again, those main elements are healthcare — all of the areas that we have identified as priorities. So, to make a list, for us, it’s agriculture, it’s energy, it’s ease of doing business, it is also the tax structure that we have to transform,” Marcos said.
“I used the word transform. I don’t use the word recovery because we have to transform the economy into something else not what it was before,” he added.
Acknowledging the Philippines’ “high” borrowings, Marcos said MIF would enable the country to invest more without increasing its borrowings.
Marcos ensured that the MIF is not run by the government but by professional fund managers to ensure the efficient management of the country’s wealth fund.
“Because when the politicians get involved, then the decisions are no longer purely financial in nature and that causes failure, I think. And it doesn't make it an efficient management of the fund,” he said.
Marcos on July 18 signed Republic Act (RA) 19954 establishing the MIF to optimize national funds by generating returns to support the Marcos administration’s economic goals laid out in the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework, the 8-point Socioeconomic Agenda, and the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028.
Under RA 11954, the MIF will be used to invest in a wide range of assets, including foreign currencies, fixed-income instruments, domestic and foreign corporate bonds, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, real estate and high-impact infrastructure projects that contribute to the attainment of sustainable development.
The establishment of the MIF will provide the government with a long-term source of income, as well as ease the burden on the national budget by providing additional funding for other priority projects of the government.
The Maharlika Investment Corporation (MIC), which has an authorized capital stock of PHP500 billion, acts as the sole entity to mobilize and utilize the MIF for investments in transactions that will generate optimal returns on investments. (PNA)